The Newtown Pentacle

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The Third Street Bridge over the Gowanus Canal, and some demolition type action, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unlike the other Gowanus Bridges which have been featured this last week, there’s only one shot of the Third Street span in today’s post. I got these whilst standing in the Whole Foods Supermarket parking lot, one misty day, and unfortunately for the bridge -I was a bit distracted by a whole other show that was being performed on the far bank.

from nyc.gov

The Third Street Bridge is a double-leaf Scherzer rolling lift bascule, supporting Third Street over the Gowanus Canal in the Borough of Brooklyn. It supports two vehicular traffic lanes, each approximately 16 feet wide, and two sidewalks, each six feet wide.

Initially constructed around 1905, the bridge was comprehensively rehabilitated in 1986. This included new mechanical and electrical equipment, and a partial structural rehabilitation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The former Burns Brothers Coal pockets, an iconic feature for area natives, were in the process of being carelessly demolished. I say careless based on both the amount of material which was splashing into the water and the utter lack of dust mitigation. The latter is curable by setting up a hose and lawn sprinkler, but that might add a few bucks onto the contractors bill, so… “Pardonmeforasking” did a great post which includes shots of the former industrial site, when it was still there, which is linked to below.

from pardonmeforasking.blogspot.com

Barely days after the demolition of the iconic silos at Carroll Street on the shores of the Gowanus Canal, comes news that the Burns Brothers coal pockets are in the process of being torn down. The photo above was taken yesterday by my friend Eymund Diegel. By today, Friday, the concrete silos opposite Whole Foods at 6th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue will be history.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless of the sloppy manner, the work being performed was quite dramatic. Whole Foods customers were actually dismounting their bicycles, if you can believe such a thing. They stopped, used their phones to record the process, shook their heads and remounted their bikes. Most rode away in the direction of Park Slope, on the sidewalk, eschewing the use of the bike lanes. The impression I gathered was that the majority had to attempt to complete other high minded and or self satisfying chores, after accomplishing their grocery shopping.

from 6tocelebrate.org

Coal pockets were used to move and store the coal from barges on the canal to wagons and, later, trucks for delivery. The eight pockets closest to the water were built be- tween 1915 and 1924, and by 1938 there were 10 more. These 40- and 50-foot tall structures are no longer used today but remain as relics of the canal’s crucial transportation role.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There’s a Newtown Creek walking tour, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

June 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. This is all well and good, Mitch. Nice photos – as always. But,I dunno. Maybe it’s me, but I’m just not “into” things Brooklyn. Never have been. I’d venture to guess, most of us in Queens aren’t either. Am I right or wrong?

    georgetheatheist . . .quixotically queens

    June 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

  2. […] let a humble narrator know that she knows about several summertime visits I’ve paid to the Gowanus, and she’s pissed at me. I tell her that it’s unnatural for a man to have just one […]


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